As the world struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic, NASA joins several other organisations in the fight against it. NASA is asking its employees to help them in the battle against COVID-19.

In the past few decades, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has tackled several challenges and now it is contributing to battle the pandemic with the use of their super-advanced technologies. Additionally, they are seeking support from their employees to come up with innovative ideas to help their nation in curbing the fast-spreading disease.

NASA in an independent space agency of the United States Federal Government and so far it has contributed by "lending its supercomputing capability to advance research for treatments and a vaccine, as well as artificial intelligence expertise to develop new data mining techniques for answering high-priority scientific questions related to COVID-19," according to the press release on the organisation's official website.

On April 1, NASA launched a call for ideas to its employees on its internal crowdsourcing platform NASA @ WORK. This enables the employees to collaborate their innovative ideas, knowledge, and resolutions to solve challenges that come along with the pandemic that has already claimed nearly 70,000 lives across the world and the US now being its epicentre.

Using their expertise and capabilities, the organisation attempts to tap into the brainpower and creativity of its workforce in challenging times.

"I've heard from employees across the agency who want to help the nation combat COVID-19. These comments exemplify the prevailing, can-do spirit of NASA people and our willingness to take on any challenge," said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine. "As the nation comes together to confront this crisis, we must look at every opportunity for NASA to lend a hand and increase our contribution to America's response," he added.

In collaboration with the White House and other government agencies, the agency wishes to solve their country's challenges in addressing the needs of the health workers as the number of cases grows rapidly in the US. As of April 5, the US has reported more than 3,30,851 cases and more than 9,000 deaths.

The organisation has urged the employees to develop novel ideas to deal with the issue of shortage of personal protective equipment and ventilators. Additionally, they seek ideas to predict the spread of coronavirus and how it impacts society and earth by using NASA data or data information products, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and other technological capabilities.

Given the urgency of the situation, the ideas must be submitted for initial consideration by Wednesday, April 15.

Novel Coronavirus
A policeman wearing a face mask in Mexico City. Photo: AFP / PEDRO PARDO

"NASA will look for ways to match available resources with viable ideas to get them up and running. To the extent possible, NASA intends to make new designs resulting from this effort open source for any business or country to use," reads the press release.